William "Will" Champion (born 31 July 1978) is a English musician and singer. He is best known as the drummer and backing vocalist for the rock band Coldplay.
Early life and education
William Champion was born on 31 July 1978 in Southampton, Hampshire, England, and was brought up in the Highfield suburb of the city, close to the University of Southampton, where his father, Timothy Champion, is a professor of archaeology; his mother, Sarah Champion, was also an archaeologist.
As a youth, Champion's musical influences included Tom Waits, Nick Cave and traditional Irish folk music. He learned to play piano and violin when he was 8 and he learned to play the guitar when he was 12. He also has experience on the bass, and tin whistle. Before he joined Coldplay, Champion performed in a band called Fat Hamster.
Champion attended primary school at Portswood Primary School, secondary school at Cantell Maths and Computing College, and college at Peter Symonds College. He attended Highfield Church. As a youngster he also played cricket for Chandler's Ford CC along with his older brother.
Champion was the last of the four band members to join the ensemble on 31 July 1997. He took up the position as drummer with no prior experience, but quickly adjusted to fill the role. In 1999, lead singer Chris Martin sacked Champion, but the band asked him to return soon after.
In Coldplay, Champion is often regarded as the rationality of the band. They say of him: "Will does have a very sensible head on his shoulders and when it comes to making band decisions he's really good at putting valid points across and keeping everyone focused. He frequently has the casting vote and his decision can sometimes override the consensus!" As Chris Martin has said in multiple interviews, "We [Coldplay] are all just working for Will Champion."
While all the four members have sung backing vocals, Champion has been the most regular. During the Viva la Vida Tour, Champion sang and performed an acoustic version of the song "Death Will Never Conquer". A version of the song was included on Coldplay's live album LeftRightLeftRightLeft. He has also performed lead vocals on a live version of "Til Kingdom Come" and the Life in Technicolor II b-side "The Goldrush".
In the autumn of 2004, Champion and Coldplay bassist Guy Berryman guested on A-ha keyboardist Magne Furuholmen's first solo album Past Perfect Future Tense. Champion made a cameo appearance in "The Rains of Castamere," an episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones, where he portrayed a musician during the Red Wedding.
Champion's mother, Sara, a Doctor of Prehistoric Archaeology, died from cancer in 2000. The album Parachutes was dedicated to her. In 2003, Champion became the first Coldplay member to marry after becoming engaged to Marianne Dark, a teacher. The first child of the couple, a girl named Ava, was born on 28 April 2006. On 7 May 2008, Marianne gave birth to fraternal twins Juno and Rex. Champion is a lifelong fan of Southampton F.C. and has had a season ticket for many years.
Champion currently uses a Yamaha drum kit with Zildjian cymbals. In the music video for "Christmas Lights", he uses a Slingerland drumkit and Ludwig Supraphonic Snare 14x6.5 inches. For sticks, Champion looks to Pro-Mark's American Hickory 5A stick with a wooden tip.
It hasn't been until A Head Full Of Dreams Tour, which started in March 2016 and will be on until late 2017 that Champion has owned his own drum kit, as all the other drum kits he used were either from the band or from the company.
- Parachutes (2000)
- A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
- X&Y (2005)
- Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)
- Mylo Xyloto (2011)
- Ghost Stories (2014)
- A Head Full of Dreams (2015)
- Roach, Martin (2003). Coldplay: The Scientist. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9810-8.
- Chris Martin: ‘Coldplay are saying the opposite of walls and Brexit’ | Music | The Guardian
- "Ricky Gervais revealed to be Coldplay drummer Will Champion's Ex-Boss in recent Chris Martin Interview".
- Weiss, David (March 2003). "Will Champion: Just Right For Coldplay". DRUM! Magazine (March 2003). Retrieved 4 August 2012.
- "Chris Martin: 'I punish myself with lemonade'". Digital Spy. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Slender Fungus (20 November 2008). "Oracle question". Coldplay.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Champion patron of CANCERactive, CANCERactive. Retrieved 8-15-11.
McLean, Craig (1 June 2008). "'We're about to be fed to the lions'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-03-18.
Will Champion (father of a two-year-old and three-week-old twins)
- Yamaha Drum Artists, retrieved 2009-07-22
- Zildjian.com – en-US, archived from the original on 3 January 2010, retrieved 2009-07-22
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